A Before and After with Buddy Butterfly


I believe I improved my drawing of Buddy flying to the chimney. The first version looked like he was lying flat on the roof instead of flying above it.

Somedays Everthing Slows Down to a Crawl


Not much progress today. At least, not as much as I wanted. The switch from Sketchbook to Photoshop is giving me bad dreams. I feel like I’m trying to run through hardening cement. The feeling of frustration and impatience penetrates my dreams. I’m dreaming of color palettes these days. Whenever I’m learning something intense and under pressure, my dreams become vivid.

The high point of my day was supporting Shoo Rayner on Patreon. He’s a great children’s book illustrator and author, and he shares everything about his process. I chose the $15 level so that I can watch his process videos, including preparing his books for IngramSpark and his Affinity Photo videos.

I completed this painting today, but it doesn’t feel complete. However, seeing this picture as it will appear on the printed page, I like it more than I thought I would. This is the first time I’ve backed off and viewed it a print size, and it looks good to me. Perhaps I spent too much time poring over every pixel at 400% magnification. When I do that the warts look like mountains.

ETA: I backed off my $15 patronage to $1. Unfortunately, Shoo hasn’t put the IngramSpark videos on Patreon yet. He’s a cool guy and I know he’ll come through. When he does, I’ll go back to the $15 level because I really want to see how he prepares his books for IngramSpark!

work in progress, children's book, shoo rayner inspired

Another Work In Progress: Momma Jay Meets the House Owner


The big news today is that I admitted to myself that I won’t meet my March 31 deadline, no matter how positive I’m feeling about my progress. I have 8 to 10 more paintings to finish and I have to learn enough InDesign to create a simple layout with text and images. Once that’s don I have to go through the IngramSpark learning process — I have no idea how long that will take. So, I decided to the sane thing and create a realistic schedule based on my available time and skills. In the end, I extended my deadline by two weeks to April 15th.

Work in progress

Work in progress

Our Heroes Emerge from Desperate Straits


I colored today’s drawing in Photoshop rather than Sketchbook. It went okay, but I had to do without a few of Sketchbook’s really handy features. In Sketchbook you can switch to the previous brush by hitting “S”. But in Photoshop there’s no way to switch to the previous tool—you have to back to the brush palette. The other Sketchbook feature I missed, my favorite in fact, was the built-in Copic color palette that shows the complements of every selected color. There’s nothing like that in Photoshop, as far as I know. My workaround was to do a screen print of the Sketchbook Copic palette, open it in Photoshop, and select colors from that. Poor me—I have so many grass-is-greener problems! Wherever you go, you’re gonna have problems.


My Conscious Attempt to Lead the Viewer's Eye Through a Painting


In this picture I intentionally combined four separate paintings into one painting, with one scene leading into another and ending at the bottom left corner. The four scenes show the boys riding bikes, playing football, playing cards, and listening to tunes in the pool.

leading the viewer's eye, children's book, digital color

Finished King of the World Painting


I worked on this picture for two days. My big issues were: unwittingly painting colors on the line work layer, deleting a layer of colors and not being able to recover it, not naming the layers. And more. I’m learning a lot about the necessity of well-organized layers. Folders for layers would be a big help, but I don’t see that feature in Sketchbook.

The wings, the wings! And Buddy has four fingers in this picture. In other pictures he has five!

Children's picture book, character design, digital coloring